So the next trait on the list from the great 11 Keys for a Successful Marathon Journey post is one that I’ve been quite good at for the last few years when it comes to running: Tracking my progress.
Track your workouts, feelings, weather, apparel, foods, mishaps, and anything else you can think of along the way. You are writing your own marathon novel and keeping track of the details can help boost your confidence later in the season.
Since December of 2007 I’ve been tracking every single run I do using Nike+Ipod. Essentially there is a little pedometer/sensor that goes in your shoe which communicates with a little receiver either in or attached to your iPod. This has been a godsend for knowing my progress as a runner. I can look back today and see that in 3.5 years I have run 796 times (an average of 4 times a week) with a total mileage of 4801 miles. I can also see that my pacing has gotten substantially worse in the last year or so, In May of 2010 I was averaging 6’51” a mile, not my best average, but still very good; this May I averaged 7’35” a mile. What this tells me is not that I’m failing,but that I can do better, I have done better, and I will do better. I may have gone downhill, but I have a record of when I was at the top of the hill, and really it’s not that far away.
So how did this past week go for me as a runner? Pretty darn good if I do say so myself. Right now my main goal is consistency, and I got my run in every day I set out to run, a more than satisfying result. The weather was amazing for my long run on Saturday (20 miles!) but I did not hydrate enough for the heat. My pace fell through the floor about 3/4 of the way through and I wound up pacing 8’20” average over the whole run, over a minute off of the Boston qualifying pace! (luckily I have 126 days to drop that pace down before Portland!) There are going to be runs that punch me in the face like this, that’s always a part of challenging yourself, of pushing your limits, sometimes you stumble on your way to success. The success is getting up and going forward.